Common Barefoot Running Fitness Injuries (And How to Avoid Them)


When it comes to running, a number of fitness enthusiasts are choosing to hit the trails while leaving their shoes at home (or by donning barefoot-style shoes). While some health experts suggest that there are several benefits to running without wearing traditional athletic shoes, choosing this option also apparently puts you at risk of various injuries. Let’s discuss some of the most common ones now, as well as how to avoid them.

Injury #1: Bone Marrow Edema

A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that participants that ran in barefoot-style shoes had a greater occurrence of bone marrow edema in their feet. Bone marrow edema is a condition in which fluid is found in the bones. One way to avoid this particular injury is to transition to barefoot running slowly, giving your feet time to adjust to running without shoes.

Injury #2: Stress Fractures

Another common injury resulting from barefoot running is a stress fracture. This happens because more force is put on the bones in the foot and ankle area, resulting in pressure that can cause them to crack. To reduce your likelihood of this type of injury, take vitamin D to build your bone strength and engage in other non-weight bearing activities to give them a break from time to time.

Injury #3: Ligament Injuries

Running without shoes requires your ligaments to work harder to stabilize your toes, feet, and ankles. This often results in injuries to these tissues, some of which can be avoided by building your barefoot routine slowly, making your ligaments strong enough to handle the impact.

Injury #4: Tendinitis

A fourth common barefoot running injury is tendinitis in the ankle and heel areas. This creates both pain and swelling, potentially sidelining you from your running regimen all together. Again, one way to reduce this likelihood is to slowly work barefoot running into your routine, doing other exercises as well to give your feet a break.

Do you engage in barefoot running? If so, what do you do to remain injury-free?

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